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Subject: Why are Aliens (almost always) Ugly/Creepy?? [Hivemind] rss

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Mystery McMysteryface
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This has been bugging me (no pun intended) for a very long time.

Why are aliens almost always portrayed in literature and visual media as very ugly, deformed, creepy, horrific, etc.?

Why do authors and producers feel that human beings on Earth are the only sentient beings with a sense of beauty?

Could be perception and that in the Alien's eyes they are beautiful and humans are ugly. However, I feel that it is just to make us afraid, reject, and possibly distance ourselves from alien beings.

What does the collective Chit Chat hivemind think?
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Peter Brichs
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Might it be because most sci-fi you watch is horror related?

I've seen several alien species in sci-fi TV shows that are extremely pretty - and some very sexualised - Zhaan from Farscape comes to mind
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Mystery McMysteryface
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jimbrax wrote:
7 of 9


I know that there are examples of beautiful aliens, that is why I stated "almost always" and that seems to be the predominant stance.


SHEESH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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午餐先生
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I think aliens in stories are only tools to personify the unknown and most people are afraid of the unknown.

And it doesn't help when someone like Stephen Hawking says he thinks aliens will probably be hostile.

To be fair, a lot of people find Giger's artwork (designer of the xenomorphs in Alien) beautiful.
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Peter Brichs
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mister lunch wrote:
To be fair, a lot of people find Giger's artwork (designer of the xenomorphs in Alien) beautiful.


I am one of those people. Scary and creepy, yes, but very beautiful.

The "Architects" from Prometheus are not ugly either.
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I think that it is just that people can't imagine an alien who isn't based on a humanoid model (which is considered to be perfection).

So, if it walks upright, then the head must be on top. If it has to eat then it must have a mouth. If it has to grab things then it must have arms and hands, of a sort. And so on.
The only variables that we can imagine are either exaggerated or altered versions of the parts that we've all got. So artists add an extra eye, or make it into a single one, but larger. They add ridges to the forehead, extend the nose to become part of the chin (I'm looking at you, Start Trek/ Star Wars); minor tweaks.

If these people were human, they would be considered to be freaks and thus, in the eyes of the majority, ugly.

The horror angle mentioned above also has its points.
Many, many people are afraid of, or dislike bugs & creepy crawly things, so aliens are often made to be bug-like so that they are easier to dislike and mistrust.

My 2
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Paul DeStefano
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EgorjLileli wrote:

Why are aliens almost always portrayed in literature and visual media as very ugly, deformed, creepy, horrific, etc.?


I'm thinking this premise is extremely flawed.

I really don't think aliens tend to be represented like that at all. Most aliens in Star Wars and Star Trek, arguably the most represented fictionalizations of alien life, tend to be odd and interesting, with minimal 'scary/creepy'.

Some animals are scary. Some are not. I'm pretty sure alien representations follow similar rules.

But I definitely don't see 'almost always' as ugly.
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Matthew M
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In the mythos of whatever story it is I'm sure it's all differences in perception.

For storytelling purposes, it's the same reason most antagonists are similarly ugly, deformed, or otherwise seem "off". Appearance is an easy shortcut toward generating a specific reaction from the audience, and in alien stories that usually means unsettling the audience (at least early on).
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CHAPEL
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EgorjLileli wrote:

Why do authors and producers feel that human beings on Earth are the only sentient beings with a sense of beauty?


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

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Morgan Dontanville
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Ben Lott
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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If aliens look horrific to us it is only because we have created some mental standard about what is and is not attractive. Why do you think Beauty and the Beast is such a popular story?
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Matthew M
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Meanwhile, Spock = attractive alien.
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Joe Gola
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I think the idea is to accentuate their "alien-ness" by making them as different from humans as possible while still having them be convincing as living organisms.

What's so beautiful about humans anyway? We have all these little crinkly, dangly protuberances for hearing and smelling, a couple of rolling wet balls to see with, hair spurting out at random intervals, a gooey pink tentacle in our mouth-hole, bony, irregular, insect-like digits....

One of the great bits in Stanislaw Lem's The Cyberiad is when the robots meet an actual human and they're all grossed out by the squishy dampness.
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Morgan Dontanville
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Morgan Dontanville
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Which one is creepier:
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Morgan Dontanville
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Morgan Dontanville
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sisteray wrote:


OK, now I've lost my appetite for lunch. Thanks Morgan.
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Sinister Dexter wrote:
sisteray wrote:


OK, now I've lost my appetite for lunch. Thanks Morgan.


You were gonna have a duckburger?

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Morgan Dontanville
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Sinister Dexter wrote:
sisteray wrote:


OK, now I've lost my appetite for lunch. Thanks Morgan.


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Amy Wiles
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There's always this guy. Usually looks vaguely humanoid.



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